Tech sector has the happiest workers
Firts place ... the chief executive of OBS, Brian Cook, plays 'Happy birthday' on his guitar for two employees. Photo: Arsineh Houspian
After researching 291 workplaces and 68,005 employees, BRW and the Great Place To Work Institute Australia have announced Melbourne-based IT consultancy OBS as top of the 2012 BRW Best Places to Work list.
Technology companies made up the top five workplaces, and accounted for seven of the top 10. NetApp and Google came in at number two and three, respectively. Software-as-a-service pioneer Salesforce.com was in sixth place, while internet security company McAfee came just outside the top 10 list, at 11th.
A combination of transparency, skill, pride and fun saw OBS named among the nation's 10 most desirable workplaces each year since the BRW awards began in 2009.
Andy Neumann, OBS managing director, said: “The point of being a great place to work is that you have to be able to produce that environment consistently. You can't just achieve a set of conditions and forget about it. You've got to be able to do it again and again.”
Kate Mills, BRW editor said: “OBS has a high level of trust with employees, and a great team environment. Australia's best places to work offer everything from massages to gym memberships, days off for birthdays, a voice with management, flexible working hours and more. There is a lot to learn from how they do business.”
Why it pays to keep staff happy
This year's top 50 features more large, multinational companies than previously.
“Information technology companies have again dominated the top of our list. With competition for staff so fierce in this sector they have to ensure they go above and beyond to capture the best candidates,” Mills said.
Perks play a large part in determining the best places to work, although the overall levels of bonus superannuation, subsidised insurance and referral bonuses are down this year.
Where new perks are being introduced, there is a trend towards those that directly address staff wellbeing.
At Google for instance, physical health is addressed through things such as an annual sports carnival, onsite skin checks and flu shots and the purchase of several kayaks, so staff can paddle in Sydney Harbour at lunchtime. Financial advice is offered with in-house talks from planners and accountants, while there are also free meditation classes and stress counsellors.
Philanthropic programs have become de rigeur for almost all the top 50. The importance of having a charitable volunteering program, which helps staff feel they are contributing more to the community than profits and dividends, is a common theme among those on the 2012 list.
Of the 291 companies in this year's study, only three have a universal profit sharing scheme. BRW reveals that overall money doesn't influence whether staff love their job.
BRW's Top 10 best places to work in 2012
1. OBS (information technology)
2. NetApp (data management)
3. Google (information technology)
4. E-Web Marketing (IT/marketing)
5. Altis Consulting (information technology)
6. Salesforce.com (information management)
7. Cordelta (professional services)
8. The Physio Co (healthcare)
9. Atlassian (IT)
10. TRC Group (recruitment)
BRW's Top 10 tips on how to become a better place to work
1. Offer staff a free day off on their birthday.
2. Allow working from home one day a week where possible.
3. Offer paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave.
4. Be flexible with working hours.
5. More part-time or job-share positions.
6. Wellbeing programs such as gym memberships and free flu shots.
7. Make the workplace family friendly.
8. Offer grievance counselling.
9. Let staff take time off when they need it.
10. Flexible annual leave (offer buyback schemes).